Joey Gallo walked up to the plate in the bottom of the seventh inning and heard something different from New York Yankees fans. The JO-EY, JO-EY chants were certainly varied from what he has heard from those same Yankees fans in a start to a season where, prior to Tuesday night, he had yet to hit a home run and was lugging a paltry .146 average along for the ride.
However, with one swing of the bat on Tuesday night at Yankee Stadium, Joey Gallo went from zero to hero in the eyes of the 28,596 (mostly New York Yankees fans) in attendance.
Gallo’s solo shot in the fourth inning, his first of the season and an opposite field home run that left little doubt in anyone’s mind in attendance after it was hit, was part of a season-high five home runs hit by the Yankees in a 12-8 slugfest win over the Baltimore Orioles.
Sure, Anthony Rizzo’s three-homer game might have taken the headlines, but there was little doubt that Gallo’s blast was a welcome sight to not only the fans, but Gallo as well.
Gallo entered Tuesday’s game just 7-for-48 on the season and only of those hits had gone for extra bases (a double). After the win, he admitted that it was a stretch where he wondered what was happening at the plate.
“Sometimes, you kind of get a little worried like, ‘Man, why isn’t the ball going out?’ I’ve hit some balls really good this year and they’ve been caught at the wall or the warning track,” Gallo admitted. “Last year, I think I went through almost 15 or 20 games without an extra base hit to open up in Texas. It’s just a process.”
It’s a process that has resulted in frustrated Yankees fans and plenty of wonder about Gallo’s future status in the lineup as he struck out 22 times in those 48 at-bats. It’s also a process that resulted in a 1-for-4 night on Tuesday as Gallo has now hit safely in four of his last five games.
And those JO-EY, JO-EY chants?
“Yeah, that was nice,” Gallo smiled. “It was a positive reception and it’s been a little while since I got a positive reception. It was nice to hear them behind me and chanting me on. It felt good.”
Yes, Yankees fans, Gallo heard you loud and clear. He’s also hoping that there will be plenty of more positive moments to come as he tries to build on the 13 homers he hit for the Yankees last season after being acquired in a trade with the Texas Rangers.
But that’s for another game and another night. For at least one evening, Gallo could smile knowing the home run monkey had gotten off his back … and so had the local fans.